Time For A New Era For  Denver District Four

Someone asked me why I would support a 19-year-old graduate of Manual High School to serve on Denver Public Schools Board of Education.
Well, here are some questions that are not asked at these school board candidate forums.
One, why have you never taken DPS students to the Blair-Caldwell African Research Library, the only such library west of the Mississippi?
Two, have you personally ever been to the Blair-Caldwell Library?
Three, how can you as a board member be an independent representative when DPS staff accompanies you to community meetings?
Four, why have the majority of the DPS Board’s votes been 7-0 in favor of the administration’s recommendation? That normally only happens in Russia and China.
Five, why are board members accepting corporate special-interest money? Does this really put our students’ interests first?
Six, will you take a position not to
close any more DPS buildings?
Seven, which one of these candidates supports vouchers?
Eight, wouldn’t it be nice to have a young black male on the board since we have so many issues with young minority males, and wouldn’t Tay Anderson be a beacon for these young men?
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the status quo. How often do we ask young people to get involved and then when they do, we give an excuse they are not ready? Wouldn’t it be nice to see a public debate on some school issues in public?
I’m joining Mrs. Omar Blair (Jeweldine), whose husband was the first black DPS board president, in supporting Tay Anderson.  Let’s shock the big-shots and the big money by electing a young, independent candidate who represents our future. Our vote is our voice for our children. At the end of the day, we shouldn’t allow our education leaders to be chosen by the elite and big money that controls the board.
Tay is being supported by a new fraction of the teachers’ union that isn’t afraid of change. The two other candidates running for the same seat: the union establishment is supporting one and the other candidate is supported by the education establishment that replaced Landri Taylor.
Tay understands the issues facing many DPS students. He went from being homeless to serving as the student body president at Manual High. He got there by showing his fellow classmates he could handle the job.
I know Tay faces tough odds in this election but I, too, was once called an underdog candidate. Denver voters ignored the establishment when they elected me as the city’s first black
mayor; and our nation did the same when we elected Barack Obama as America’s first black president.
Let’s do it again and usher in a new era by electing Tay Anderson to the DPS board as the representative of District 4.

Wellington E. Webb
Former Mayor of Denver


Black Lives Matter (Does It Matter?)

We as a people have been through a tour of life
hell. This mental madness started when our people, before us, was bought to America in chains, and out of our natural minds. Our people were living in the homeland, chilling, minding their own business, and then the slave catchers came. They put our people on that slave ship, and we have not been right ever since. Just imagine, being on the bottom of a ship, chained up, ass out.
You are out in the middle of the ocean, not knowing where you are going. Meanwhile, there are some other victims on that ship with you. You might not like some of them. The slave catcher is choosing certain Africans to be in charge of other Africans. Oh oh! This is where
in house Playa Hatin’ begins!
And you know how we
are, when it’s Black on Black. It’s brutal! And it can hurt!
Now, let’s fast forward. And we are living in the concept of ‘’Repeat’’ Dr. King, whites, Jewish people, and some other races died, marched and got killed for our freedom, but
still we seem to be caught up in ‘’Real Life Prison’’ with no bars. But we became prisoners in our mind. Thug hip hop culture has played a major role of influencing the mind that is in search of self. With the right 808 beat and a blunt, you will bounce to it in the worst way, and let that negative lyric and beat get into your head, and give you a purpose that means no good. We are what we listen to. If you like it rough and nasty, what song do you play for yourself?
Of course Black lives matter, but the question is do we matter to ourselves? Black on Black crime and hate is off the hook. When we hate each other, it’s really bad, along with bad talk and gossip- the other leading killer of Black people. Gossip is a killer. Thug rap culture has represented a deep part of our race. Some women want a thug or a roughneck. MC Lyte said it back in the day. She planted that seed for it. So when other races react to the illusion of what we created and represent, what do you expect?
Yes, Black Lives Matter, but do we matter to each other? Hmmm.
A lot of young Blacks, who march in the street, have no idea what they are marching for. Some just want to be seen, and promote their hot rap track called ‘’I
Kills a Nigga’ with my Trigga’’ written by a Black youth from Littleton, Colorado. We are caught up in Nigga Negro madness in its purest form, and cannot seem to get out of it, because it has become the norm.
We as a people, have to be very careful. Our services will soon be no longer needed. We gave up our cultural secrets of who we are. We taught other cultures what to do when it comes to how to do it. Therefore, what do we have left? Robots are soon coming
in, and doing what humans use to do. You see it, just look around you. What we really need to worry about is do we MATTER to ourselves.
As a matter of fact, ponder that...

The Rexx
Denver, CO


Former DUS Reader Lambastes DUS Publisher Behind Trump

Your editorial on page 3 (DUS Sept. 2017) was the most disgusting piece I have ever read. It was filled with hate, spite and hypocritical racism all directed toward President Trump. The election has been over for almost a year. Time for you to get past that. It’s obvious you can’t.
Let me just say President Trump will do more for our country in one year than Obama did in his first four years. The hate-filled column that you wrote will not begin to fix the division that plagues our country. Although it’s getting better now that President Trump is our president. The jelly belly and gutless wonder that occupied the White House before President Trump was elected is the reason for the division in the U.S.A. To you I say “Don’t let your pen get you into something your ass can’t handle.”
Needless to say, I will not be reading the Spectrum – although I might pick-up a copy in December to use it to start a fire in my fireplace.

Rocky Olheiser
Arvada, CO


Time to Welcome More African-American Sickle Cell Patients

Into Clinical Trials To Find Breakthrough Treatments

For many years, the treatments developed to treat the chronic and rare conditions that people in our communities live with each day have succeeded because of those who have been willing to participate in clinical trials.
As too many African-American families know all too well, Sickle Cell Disease (SCD
) is a very painful, chronic genetic disease that can affect every organ in the body.  While, in a normal body, blood cells are round and can move through the body easily, however, patients with sickle disease develop cells that are malformed into a “sickle” shape and can be hard and sticky. They cannot move as easily and get stuck in blood vessels causing immense pain.  In addition, the sickle-shaped cells die off faster, creating a deficit of red blood cells, resulting in anemia.  
Although there have been breakthroughs in finding life-saving treatments for sickle-cell anemia in Colorado and across the country; we need to greatly step up efforts to overcome decades of understandable fear and skepticism within the African American community about medical research, and help move progress forward. It’s a healthcare crisis in our backyard that we can solve.
This debilitating and life-shortening disease affects more than 100,000 people in the U.S., mostly African-Americans.  Life expectancy is 48 years for females and 42 years for males with Sickle Cell Anemia.
For many decades, we in the African-American healthcare community have been battling
SCD and its effects.  Progress in finding treatments has been extremely slow and frustrating for our patients. However, as we see increased hope, we are also shining a spotlight on the challenges that researchers are grappling with as they seek solutions.  
First, the good news. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first new drug for treating
SCD complications – the first such approval in two decades.  In fact, it’s only the second approval overall.   
Many new drugs are in the development stage. Any drug that is brought to market has undergone extensive clinical trials, and success of those trials requires the participation of patients. Trials for
SCD treatments are no exception.  
Yet one of the biggest challenges in our community is convincing patients to enroll in clinical trials. For decades, there has been a deep mistrust and even fear of the medical community among African Americans, tracing back to tragic and cruel experiments conducted in the last century. That memory has left a deep scar in the black psyche. That fear has taken a toll
in the ability to make progress against SCD. Recent reports show that nearly one-third of existing SCD clinical trials had to be terminated early due to the lack of participants.  This creates significant delays in the ability to gain approval of potential new treatments for the disease.   
Groups such as the Colorado Council of Black Nurses, Inc. and Colorado Sickle Cell Association, Inc. along with many others in the African-American community have been urging sickle-cell patients to talk to their providers about participating in clinical trials. We spend a great deal of time, explaining to every patient the safety and security inherent in these trials, as well as the great service that they can provide for the sickle-cell community worldwide.
It is very difficult to make headway. We need much more focused efforts from within the research and medical community. We know the massive expenditures of time and treasure these innovators invest in bringing a medicine to the clinical trial phase and we’re ready to partner with drug developers, the public health community, elected leaders and others to step up advocacy for patients and their families.  
It’s not sufficient to just throw up our hands because patients aren’t coming through the doors. We must understand the deep-seated and emotional reasons why African-Americans are apprehensive and then work collectively, aggressively and collaboratively to calm those fears and create a safe and welcoming path to participation in clinical trials. It is absolutely essential – and long overdue - for African Americans to be included in these clinical trials.
In addition to the lives at stake in Colorado and around the country,
SCD exerts a massive cost on the American healthcare system, with estimates that each patient costs nearly $1 million in treatment by age 45. And for those patients who rely on emergency room visits to seek treatment, that cost is sharply higher.  
It’s time to unite in the fight against a disease that, while rare, has had a devastating effect on African-American families.  We know that breakthroughs are on the horizon and without an effort to greatly expand the number of patients stepping up to join clinical trials those life-extending innovations will remain, sadly, out of reach.

Dr.  Margie Bell-Cook
Eastern Colorado Council of Black Nurses Inc.
Denver, CO

Health Care Should Be Universal For All Americans

We’re at a unique time in our country, with more support for universal health care than ever before.
Because of this, those who want to keep the status quo—for their profit, not yours—will rail against universal care using tired arguments like socialized medicine.
They’ll try to pit us against one another. They’d like to convince you that helping fellow Americans takes money out of your pocket, when in fact, they are the ones doing the taking.
How many times have you heard this gem?
“This is the United States of America, son! We pay for our OWN health care here. We don’t expect someone else to...”
I really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you already are paying for “other people’s health care” and have been for some time.
I’m just your average working American. Each one of my paychecks shows what I made and the many deductions from that amount. The taxes withheld from my check help pay for three government run
healthcare programs:
1.     Medicare
2.     Medicaid
3.     The Veteran’s Administration
Then, on top of that MORE is deducted to help pay for private health insurance for me and my family.
Before President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, all that existed were private insurance plans which operated then the same way they do today: They take monthly premiums paid by customers, pool that money together, and use it to pay claims made by those same customers. Regardless of what you think, even if you have insurance through Cigna, United Healthcare, or one of the other giants, you’re paying for someone’s triple bypass in Michigan. Or a kid’s broken arm in Idaho. Or the emergency room visit for that guy in California who drunkenly decided to fire a bottle rocket from his teeth on the 4th of July.
Now, in no way, shape, or form am I saying the poor, elderly, and especially our veterans don’t deserve
health care, but I have to question why we have to have a total of FOUR SEPARATE SYSTEMS, each with their own administrative network to do it?
I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, so I’ve been paying to support these systems all that time. If consumer choice is a concern, why can’t I simply pay a little more and take the government plan? Why am I forced to use only the most expensive and least efficient one?
Instead of the viewpoint of someone undeservedly getting something YOU paid for, look at it from the perspective of you paying for something you’re not allowed to access because of your age, income, or lack of military enlistment.
This is the inherent flaw in our patchwork system that breeds anger and division. When people are struggling to put food on the table and past due bills are piling up, they lose their will to help others and start seeing the world as dog-eat-dog. They see money being taken out of their hard-earned pay to help someone who they feel is undeserving because they’re hurting too and no one’s helping them.
Wouldn’t it be better to look at those deductions from your hard-earned pay and think “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about medical care if I need it”?
We already pay for health care in many different ways. Why not do so in the most efficient way possible? We pay more for
health care in this country than any other advanced country pays. How American is that? How American is it to pay more and get less? How American is it to leave people out in the cold without looking at ways to make sure we’re ALL better off?
Unfortunately, health care costs will never go away and we’ll continue to pay them in the future. The for-profit and employer-based private insurance system that’s become the norm has failed us so we need to look at other ways. Thankfully, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Reams of data from other industrialized countries exist that demonstrate different ways of achieving a system that works for all. Let’s dig deep, put ideology aside, and find a uniquely American universal health care system that we can be proud of.

Chris Marye
Littleton, CO